Formula for a Fantasy – Part 3 of 3

“Through the mythology of Einstein, the world blissfully
regained the image of knowledge reduced to a formula”


The 3-step fantasy formula

In Part 2 we started to entertain the idea that physicality can assist us in applying our imagination to test for a more compelling future; a scenario where you have an experience that brings out more of the best in you.

Now it’s time to look at utilising a 3-step formula that will allow us to test a fantasy incrementally so that we only go on to manifest the ones we truly want. This way we can mindfully test step by step:

Step 1 of 3: determine if it’s a type 1, 2 or 3 fantasy

We explored these in Part 2:

Type 1 – Fictional fantasy
Type 2 – Fantastic fantasy
Type 3 – Fulfilment fantasy

If your fantasy falls more into type 1 or type 2, it would be best to leave it to one side, at least for now. These might be potentials for the future but for now we are only interested in taking type 3s forward. Once you have a measure of practice and skill, you can play with the other types.

Type 3s are usually based on experiences we’ve had ourselves or perhaps someone we know has told us about an experience and we liked the sound of it. We usually have a good intuitive feel for the level of safety and the level of excitement this experience could bring. You could say that we’ve had the taster and now we want some more.

Here are three relevant examples that people have shared with me (I’m using them with their permission).

  1. Pack their bags tomorrow and travel the world for a year without a care in the world.
  2. Throw caution to the wind and splash out on something very luxurious and not very practical.
  3. Play out a naughty role in a sensual context.

None of these fantasies will be completely new to us. We will already have experienced something like them, or perhaps we have read about them, watched them in a movie or heard of them via word of mouth. As the last examples in that list demonstrate, we might only have experienced the fantasy in our own imagination.

Step 2 of 3: DVD tester

Before taking your type 3 fantasy out into the real world, apply the DVD tester idea which I spoke about in Part 1 of this series of articles. It’s always a good idea to run a test movie first.

The test movie could be of anything you choose however I propose one where you enjoy your best ever massage. This brings in the all-important physical aspect which is key to the successful manifestation of your fantasy – and it’s highly enjoyable too!

Imagine inserting your DVD into a player and, when you press play, you watch a movie of you having your ideal massage whether you have actually had a real life experience or just have to use your imagination. It’s very easy for me as I have already had many massages in real life. I once experienced a massage where the hot oil was a mixture of some of my favourite essential oils and I had two masseuses working on me. It was gentle to start with and got quite firm in the middle before easing off to a soothing finish. It felt like every knot in my body had been eased away and I was walking on air afterwards. I would love to experience this again so it’s an easy DVD for me to play… over and over.

You might be able to picture a scene where you can see yourself comfortably laid on a massage bed. Your body is getting heavier and heavier as your anticipation of deep relaxation grows. Now the warm oil eases onto your skin and it is just the right temperature. The scent is both soothing and exhilarating. Your masseuse’s hands move over your body, your muscles soften and the oil sinks in and eases away any lurking tension. Sometimes the touch is firm and then it softens, allowing you to sink deeper into relaxation. Your breathing deepens as you surrender to the experience. You notice which parts of your body and mind that had been feeling tight and tense before are now loosening up and moving into ease and effortlessness. You might even find that you are smiling as you read this.

As you watch your own movie, notice the signals that let you know how much you are enjoying the experience. It could be the look of absolute bliss on your face. It could be deep sighs of relaxation. It could even be groans of pleasure as your muscles release and the pressure of the massage penetrates all the tense areas.

You might even find that just reading and imagining the massage right now has given you a desire to try a massage out in real life.

When the DVD finishes, I would like you to imagine using a remote control to take you back to the part you enjoyed the most. Just pause the movie there for a few moments. Then, when you are good and ready, simply eject the DVD. Your last memory of it will be the part you enjoyed the best.

Now, if you feel adventurous, go ahead and insert another DVD. This one is for something that you would like to experience in your life but just in the safe space of your imagination to start with. This will give you the chance to work out how much you enjoy the experience safe in the knowledge that you are only testing it out. Here you will see yourself enjoying the fantasy you have selected.

Step 3 of 3: Gradually bridge the reality gap with lots of small incremental steps

If you enjoyed the movie enough to want to take it out into the real world, we will now test it in a way that brings both your psychology and your physiology into play.

Utilising physiology helps the mind and body connection work together to take the next step towards turning your imagined fantasy into reality.

Let’s run it through in your imagination first. By the way, you will need some open floor space for this. Now imagine 10 stepping stones laid out on the floor in front of you. Each one represents a different moment in time during the fantasy and they will allow you to test for how it could be experienced out in the real world.

Step 5 is the mid-way point. Steps 0 to 4 lead up to the fantasy experience and 6 to 10 are what you will experience afterwards. All of these steps help give the fantasy context: a before and after; a beginning, middle, and an end. This helps the mind see how best to turn a mere fantasy into a living, breathing and real part of your life as you grow into the best version of yourself.

So let’s get physical with the 10 steps. In a place where you will not be disturbed, count out enough floor space for 10 physical steps. They don’t need to be big, just a comfortable step length. You could even mark them out by laying down 10 pieces of A4 paper if you want to.

Stand at Step 0. Hold in mind the theme of your fantasy, then:
  1. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and slowly take 10 steps forward.
  2. At step 10, imagine what you will experience one year after your fantasy. When you have a good idea of what this might look like, take a step back to step 9. You will step back as you work through each step.
  3. At step 9, imagine seeing yourself one month after your fantasy experience.
  4. At step 8, imagine seeing yourself one week after your fantasy experience.
  5. At step 7, imagine seeing yourself one day after your fantasy experience.
  6. At step 6, imagine seeing yourself one hour after your fantasy experience.
  7. At step 5, imagine you have your DVD remote control in your hand. Fast reverse through the movie.
  8. At step 4, imagine what you will experience one hour before your fantasy experience.
  9. At step 3, imagine seeing yourself one day before your fantasy experience.
  10. At step 2, imagine seeing yourself one week before your fantasy experience.
  11. At step 1, imagine seeing yourself one month before your fantasy experience.
  12. At step 0, open your eyes.

The aim here is to test to see if you felt an overall future that was so compelling that you would like to invest your time and energy into giving your fantasy more chance of becoming a physical reality.

So, how could this help us in our lives I hear you ask? Well, isn’t it wise to harness all our resources when we want to bring more of what we truly want into our lives?


Summing up…

Whatever fantasies you have in mind, it’s useful to distinguish the ones that are for personal entertainment only and the ones that have real-world physical potential for yourself.

They might not want to immediately become hard physical realities, but at least you are now more aware of the importance of engaging your physiology when you want to make one or more of your true desires a living, breathing reality.

And do bear in mind that we are only becoming aware here of what may already be happening to a degree in your life, except it is happening on autopilot: persistent problems all start as fantasies as far as the mind is concerned.

Maybe it’s just me, but surely it is better to design your life by choice rather than fall victim to auto-pilot?

Formula for a Fantasy – Part 2 of 3

“Fantasy mirrors desire. Imagination reshapes it.”


Contrasting fantasy and reality via physicality

In Part 1, we took a step into the imagination to see how we could entertain the possibility of utilising our minds to help bring only what we truly desire into our reality.

As adults, we would ideally like the ability to have a clear distinction between fantasy and reality while also having the ability to let our imaginations play with possibilities, especially when probabilities might be holding back our enjoyment.

Before jumping into that, let’s briefly look at some definitions of fantasy.

  1. Imagination, especially when extravagant and unrestrained.
  2. The forming of mental images, especially wondrous or strange fancies; imaginative conceptualizing.
  3. A mental image, especially when unreal or fantastic.
  4. Psychology. An imagined or conjured up sequence fulfilling a psychological need; daydream.
  5. A hallucination.
  6. A supposition based on no solid foundation.
  7. An ingenious or fanciful thought, design, or invention.     (Fantasy definitions taken from

As you can see, there is a broad range of definitions to cover a balance of what is in a person’s imagination or in the outside world. I would like to expand on item four by looking at two aspects.

The first is ‘conjuring up a sequence’. Say, for example, that someone’s first date goes well. They both have fun, feel safe enough to enjoy each other’s company and they are excited – and uncertain – enough that they do not know how things will turn out. This could be the beginning of a great love affair! That first date could well lead to a beautiful romance, just like a great love story. Do you see how that sequence is very important and how real-life experiences can be read as a narrative?

Now let’s move on to ‘fulfilling a psychological need’. It as if we need to have a certain level of fantasy in our life to experience a healthy and balanced mind. I only wish someone had told my schoolteachers that daydreaming was healthy; it could have saved me a whole load of after school detentions!


Fulfilment versus fiction

I propose that we work with two categories of fantasy.

  • Category 1: One which stays totally private in the confines of your own mind as this then allows imagination to run away with itself.
  • Category 2: An area where you can envision a better you in real life. Here we use our imaginative abilities to not just see what would make our lives better, but also what actionable steps would allow that to happen in a way that we can enjoy the process just as much as the destination.

 fantasy in our lifeCategory 1 might include what we want to experience at some stage and we are looking to have a useful measure of control over that happening but only when we get better at discerning how we use our powerful imagination. When a person is too busy and stretched, they might cross over from conscious engagement with their fantasies to fantasies run on autopilot… and that could lead to all kinds of trouble.

Now I would like to introduce three types of fantasy that expand on the two categories I’ve just been talking about.

Type 1: Fictional fantasy

We all have a memory-based mind; what happens outside of our senses takes an amount of time (fractions of seconds) to be picked up by the mind’s circuitry. We could therefore say that what we operate on the delayed pictures in our minds rather than the actual real world. So we do tend to live in our own imagination to a high degree.

If we reduce physical movement the human mind is even more strongly held in the fictional domain. You see, movement assists the senses in making something real at a physiological level. In essence, the more the body is switched off to movement, the more the imagination is able to play and even run amok. Our night time dreams could be an indicator of this.

Type 2: Fantastic fantasy

We all have fantasies that stretch the imagination. Some are pretty far-fetched and so they are deemed low in terms of potential to be experienced in real life. However a ‘fantastic’ fantasy might well have something to offer us, something that we might feel drawn towards.

 We get to learn vicariouslyEach year at the Oscars the winning lead actor was usually starring in a movie based on a character making good against all the odds. Slumdog Millionaire was nominated for 10 Academy Awards in 2009 and won eight, including best picture. The movie covers a young Indian man’s experience on a notorious game show that is also called Slumdog Millionaire. We see how he tackles each question not so much from intellect as he is just an ordinary guy in an ordinary day job in customer support in a telephone call centre. We soon realise that he has the experience and wisdom of someone much older as his harsh life as an orphan gave him lessons that were both harrowing and valuable. The game show provides the backdrop of the movie and shows how he faces life and how he grows rich from each and every life experience.

When we watch movies such as this, we might find ourselves being absorbed into it especially if it has some resonance with our own personality. The movie experience allows us to feel and integrate the learnings of the movie character into our own life. We get to learn vicariously.

The ‘fantastic fantasy’ is where we see the best of ourselves more clearly. We put aside what the rest of world would say we should be and do and, instead, act from our own sense of integrity.

The adolescent mind-set looks to take the freedom of childhood into an adult state where there is a bringing together of possibility and probability. George Lucas’s direction of Star Wars started some years earlier when he created the far less well-known THX 1138. The movie wasn’t a great success but its emphasis on cutting edge special effects provided him with his preparation and apprenticeship for making Star Wars. Ironically Star Wars as a whole focuses a lot on the apprentice/internship stage of life where the child is shaped into becoming the best adult they can be.

Star Wars

Seeing as I’m talking about Star Wars and while we are on the topic of fantasies, I don’t think I will be alone as a guy in noting how in the second Star Wars movie Princess Leia changed from the ‘pretty girl’ compartment in my mind to quite a different one! I nearly choked on my popcorn when I saw her and this picture is etched into my memory for all time…

Type 3: Fulfilment fantasy

We will look into ‘fulfilment fantasies’ more in Part 3 of this article. Generally, Type 3s have some element of a person seeking fulfilment by discerning between what the rest of the world expects of them and what they should want… versus what it is they truly want to experience. There is usually also an element of learning to get more skilled in managing risks. This could at times involve throwing caution to the wind.

To briefly change topic, virtual reality (VR) headsets have advanced so much in recent years. People notice that when they have a headset display operating, it is the movements of their head and even their whole body that makes the imagery more realistic. When the eyes, head, and body move in unison, the mind imagines the experience to be more real. For example, the science shows that heartbeat variations of participants wearing a headset are much more varied when the person naturally moves their head to follow images. Those who are fixed in a position where only their eyes can move do not have such variations in their heartbeats.

So what does this tell us about using fantasies to help us achieve more of what we want in our lives? Well, we could work with the idea that if you want a fantasy, a figment of your imagination, to become a reality and to be fulfilling, you can increase the probability by a huge amount by involving physical movement.

We will look at ‘fulfilment fantasises’ more in Part 3. Table 1.0 below helps give us an overview of the three types of the fantasies we have covered in this article:

Table 1.0: Three types of fantasy
Table 1.0: Three types of fantasy


Part 2 summary points:

  1. A useful definition of a fantasy is ‘a conjured up sequence fulfilling a psychological need’.
  2. We can break fantasies down into three types that assist us in seeing how to apply our mental efforts to bring only the ones that we wish to experience into reality.
  3. The use of our physical bodies can assist us in distinguishing which fantasies we want to stay in our imagination and those we want to manifest in the real physical world.

Formula for a Fantasy – Part 1 of 3

“Everything should be as simple as possible, but not simpler.”


After completing the ‘Sexy Simplicity’ article back in August 2017, a number of readers and friends fed back to me some of their experiences after applying the idea of a ‘simplicity mind-set’. What became clear to many is that simplicity is not as simple to work with as we would think.

I think there is a good reason for this. Albert’s quote above knocks the nail on the head in that we are looking for simplicity but yet not too simple. You might ask how this is achieved and I can share that I believe it is to do with the idea that elegant solutions are where we strike the right balance between complexity and simplicity. We see this in Albert’s own life where he worked hard by day yet also seen that it was when sleeping that his imagination would experience the freedom required to break through from the world of probability to the world of possibility where new ideas are born. His revolutionary theory of relativity came to him in a dream.

If we look at more a waking state where we get to have the imagination be more active, we can see that the dynamics of a fantasy mind set can assist us.

“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.”


Imagination – Friend or Foe

The human imagination can be said to be the source of every solution known to man. The flip side of the imagination is that it can also get a person into lots of trouble. This might for many people take them back to experiences in life. An obvious one for me was in the school classroom when being told off for daydreaming instead of getting on with classwork. This was a pretty regular occurrence for me.

What we can see that the imagination mechanism is working in the background as part of our daily lives to a high degree automatically. Whenever you go grocery shopping, you are probably not very aware that you will only buy what you area already picturing being able to enjoyably eat and drink. You might even be imagining yourself preparing and cooking food where required. It happens in the mind so quickly and slickly that you might only become aware when for example you see something new that is a bit of a change for you. I bought some herbs and spices recently after I recalled seeing a chef on TV make up a great salad dressing. As I was selecting the items from the shelves to my basket, I was to a degree going through the steps in my kitchen of preparing the dressing. I even imagined at one point dipping my finger into the sauce and tasting it to check if it needed anything else adding. You will be doing similar things with your mind each and every day whether you are consciously aware of it or not.

Being intrigued by novel ideas, inventions and technical advancements, I am also intrigued by a compartment of the imagination that could be termed ‘The Fantasy Theatre’. The reason for this is that if I ask you to imagine something, it will have an effect, if however I ask you to fantasise about something, it is more likely to feel like you have been given permission to be even more imaginative.

When George Lucas brought Star Wars to the movie theatre, he did something very clever. He started with the dialogue on the big screen ‘A long time ago in a Galaxy far, far away…..’. What this allowed was the minds of the audience set aside their adult mind sets and engage into a childlike state of possibility. The permission and ability to distance themselves from reality allowed them to enjoy the movie even more.

Between the adult mind-set and the childlike state, we also have the adolescence stage. This one tends to get a bit of a bad rap as it seems to be associated with the confusion and less than positive aspects that exist between childhood and adulthood when hormone production is difficult to manage and predict. My hope is that by the end of this three part article, you will see the mind-set of the child, adolescent and adult as all having their useful place. When each is applied well, the imagination works for us, when not, you better get ready to manage the consequences.

As already noted, the fantasy mind set could be described as an extension of the imagination. If a fantasy mind set is applied well, it can bring a person a lot of assistance in terms of great ideas. The trick is to understand the difference between delusion and creation as both can utilise the imagination and there exists a very fine line between them. This brought me to asking the following question:

“How can I make for fantasies that both give me permission to think outside of what has been true up to now… and… also allow me to integrate my imagination to make for a more compelling future?”

This question could be useful to help us distinguish between what we just want to only entertain in our imagination and what we truly want to experience in the outside world.

So, how can a person work with their imagination such that they can make for a way of leveraging their mind and the power of possibility over probability? What we can see is that ultimately, we all seek the following in our lives:

  1. Happiness – we want to feel good about ourselves.
  2. Success – we want to feel that we have the abilities to make good things happen.
  3. Freedom – we want to feel free from external constraints that can limit us.

What will discover is that in reality, we seek one or more of these three items whenever we fantasise. Ideally… all three.

Fundamentals of a Fantasy…

Now we will take a step further into an area of life that is rarely discussed. Even the word ‘fantasy’ can bring to mind all kinds of connotations that are so often sexual or sensual in nature that they will so often not be voiced or discussed. The word ‘fantasy’ originated back in 1275-1325 and in Middle English was ‘fantasie’ meaning ‘mental image’.

What we can say is that whatever a person creates a mental image off and holds in mind is an indication to the subconscious mind of what we want it to apply our resources to and make come about. It can therefore be said to be a ‘form of rehearsal’.

What we will do is look at fantasies in such a way that you can then take a measure of control over what you would like to experience more of in your life.

This could be anything from a dream vacation, a new identity that can come with changing a job or even a new hobby that you have held back from indulging yourself in. Off course, if you would like to venture more into the privacy of your own mind, a place where you can feel totally free of constraints, you can also feel free to think about the things that you would like to try on that are more of a sensual nature. You have the freedom to find a formula where you can have a way to allow yourself to take what started as just an idea, an image growing clearer, to become a living breathing pulsating reality. We are sexual and sensual beings after all.

As a side-note, My Secret Garden by Nancy Friday shares some dynamics about female fantasies that might challenge the idea that the feminine is based on ‘sugar and spice and all things nice’. Most men will be quite surprised and even shocked by the power and vivid nature of the female imagination when given permission to break free from cultural constraints and let loose.

Ok, now back to your imagination. The privacy of your mind can be extended to the privacy behind a closed bedroom door (or beyond) by finding a formula that is so unique that it is known only to yourself as you will soon discover.


The Tester DVD concept…

The analogy I would like to introduce is the ‘Tester DVD’ concept. I had a friend that wanted to go somewhere quite exotic for a vacation a few years back. She had heard of Antigua but didn’t really know enough about it. What she discovered was one travel company provided DVD’s with lots of footage of some of the key sights and sounds she could expect to experience. Not so much that it would take away anything from a person’s experience of the adventure, just enough so they get a feel for whether it is right for them. This is in no way a guarantee that if you followed this idea that you will be happy with the purchase of your vacation but it cuts out a lot of the potential for regrets.

Now consider what if you had the ability to do this in life such that you could find a way to distinguish between the fantasies that are for entertainment purposes only in your own mind and those that you would like to bring to real life? What could that be worth to you?

When discussing the DVD idea with my friend, I asked her a question out of curiosity:

“If you had complete freedom to order up a DVD for something you might desire, something that you might not even want to tell you best friend you secretly longed for… what might that be?”

I was quite taken aback when she immediately responded with ‘Ideal Lover’. This was with zero hesitation. This then stirred up a further question as my intrigue kicked in:

If I were to ask you… what is it about you… what three personal qualities would bring this Ideal Lover to you… what might you say?

This focused her imagination is a way that she seen that her imagination could start piecing together a formula. She could use this for any area of life not just her love life or vacations.



  1. The human imagination can be useful or detrimental, it is a very fine line between the two.
  2. A ‘Tester DVD’ is an idea where we get to use our imagination to insert ourselves into a potential future reality to ‘test the water’ so to speak.
  3. Discovering an Ideal Lover whether it be another person or just what brings out the best in yourself is maybe something you would like to indulge your imagination into?


In Part 2, we will look at the idea of a fantasy from the perspective of a formula to allow you to take a step towards a more compelling future…

Attraction in Action – Part 2 of 2

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”


The action in attraction…

In Part One, we saw that it is important to find out what you truly desire, whether that’s something simple like new clothes or something as profound as a life partner. How will you ever have the life you want if you never take the time to work out what that actually means for you? Life is far too precious to run on auto-pilot!

A simple way to do this is to become just a bit more conscious of how you apply the anticipation mindset in your own life. Not sure what an anticipation mind-set is? Then read on…

Just for fun, whether you are a guy or a gal, imagine that you are going on a hot date and are planning to buy a new outfit for the occasion. You may find yourself automatically jumping ahead and imagining the date itself; the mind often wants to race ahead on autopilot. But I would like you to do something a little different – slow your imagination down and focus on a very short timescale where you:

Attraction in Action

You might initially see no purpose to this mini exercise, but it would be useful to realise:

a) This simple idea of ‘time shifting’ can have quite a significant effect when it is consciously applied versus having it happen on autopilot or by default.
b) Our imagination’s link to our body is such that we experience some of what we would like to feel in the future even though we are still in the here and now.

Let’s look at a real life example where this thinking has been applied consciously. I hope this will help convince you of the benefits of slowing down your thinking and it may even lubricate your imagination, giving it more flexibility so it is ready to stretch a little and try something new.

A recently divorced friend of a friend shared how she was meeting lots of new lovers for clean, healthy and enjoyable sex. (Please note: I only ever share these examples with full permission).

Attraction in ActionShe had initially found herself in what felt like a Groundhog Day existence whilst recovering from a long drawn-out divorce. Then, totally out of the blue, a very close friend died. This proved to be a pivotal moment in her life, one that she could not ignore. Suddenly life felt too short to spend her years dreaming about what she wanted instead of actively creating a life with few regrets – including recharging her love and sex life. She wanted to replace her Groundhog Day life with something more like Fifty Shades of Grey.

As well as being a very modern outgoing woman, she is also very much a romantic at heart so was hoping that she would chance upon ‘the man who can be all men to her’. For a while, we discussed how she could ‘remove the randomness’ as, although she was meeting great guys, she still hadn’t met the one with whom she could create a relationship that was about much more than sex.

I asked her to share what was common to the experiences where she felt most aligned with her true self. She replied that those were times where she felt most attractive physically, mentally and emotionally. She had to feel all three come together.

I started to see that she was unconsciously applying time shifting to test for where she could ride the ebbs and flows of anticipation most enjoyably. This way she would be able to strike a balance between what was ‘known’ and what could be ‘new’ to her. She needed enough known to feel safe enough to surrender to the experience yet enough new that she would feel all the tingles of excitement that she longed for.

I explained that her best experiences of heightened attraction were when she took the time and space to test her anticipation not just before (like most people do on autopilot) but also during and after. I thought she was extremely skillful at tapping into her sense of anticipation, leaving just enough unknowns to allow fate and destiny to play their part. She was interested to hear this new take on her experiences.

It was clear that her first time with a new lover was like a mini ritual. Here are just a few items that she shared and is okay with me sharing with you:

Attraction in Action


This example shows us we can take a measure of control over the attraction process just by using our imagination to test out the anticipated ebbs and flows. Like the lady above, we can imagine every aspect of the planned event or purchase (if you’re still trying to work out what your ideal item of clothing is!) We can use our minds to ‘see’ what comes before, what happens during and what happens afterwards. And all of these mental time shifts will increase our anticipation and, ultimately, allow us to enjoy the fulfilment of our desires even more. What could be better than that?

Attraction in ActionBringing together the before, during and after aspects of time helps us strike a balance between what we are attracted to and what is attracted to us but is still awaiting alignment. Two magnets, when correctly aligned, need very little persuasion to come together.

Why not have a go yourself? Think about something (or someone) that is attracting you. Fully imagine the before, during and after… that way you will invite the dynamic action of attraction.



  1. There are all kinds of attraction, including magnetic attraction.
  2. We all time-travel, shifting backward and forward in time in our minds. Most of this   happens below consciousness, often on autopilot.
  3. If something is on auto-pilot it can have too much unwanted influence on us.
  4. The further back and further forward we go with our imagination, the greater the chance   of switching onto autopilot. We need to focus more on slowing things down a bit to   ensure this doesn’t happen.
  5. We all have different appetites for risk. Knowing our optimum risk level helps us tap into anticipation.
  6. Anticipation usually runs on auto-pilot.
  7. We become more conscious of anticipation and attraction when we choose to run the ‘action’ movie in our minds of the before, during and after rather than letting it run  by default.
  8. When before, during and after is more conscious, the more chance we have of aligning  ourselves with the good things that truly attract us.

Attraction in Action – Part 1 of 2

“Attraction isn’t a choice.”



This article will look at attraction with the aim of helping you to develop a measure of control over it so that you can have and experience more of what you desire in life and also align with your true desires. The latter is often not considered by many of us.

Attraction in Action We can liken attraction to magnetism. I recall the day in junior school when I was amazed at how two pieces of magnetised metal could be pulled together or repelled from each other. It was almost magical.

There are a number of areas that could be useful to look at in terms of the attraction dynamic but this article will focus on just one — attraction and the ebb and flow of time.

What does time have to do with attraction? Well, the busier we are, the more attraction runs on autopilot. So we will tap into time to see the attraction structure and process more clearly. Not so much as to take the excitement out of it, just enough to take out the default and chance elements that don’t serve us.

Slowing things down just enough…

The frames of a film usually run at 24 per second. At that speed we see a seamless movie. If it is slowed down, even just a little bit, we start to see the individual frames. We are going to do something similar now — slow down the attraction dynamic so we can see it just a bit more clearly. We will see what is already in plain sight, if we slow our minds down just enough.
Try this for starters: think of your favourite song.

Did it take a while to home in on the answer? Now if I were to ask what initially attracted you to that song, I bet it’ll take you even longer to ponder and respond. Why? Because attraction is like many other aspects of our lives — it tends to run more on autopilot than we realise. And this is why it will be useful to slow it down a little, so we can learn how it works for us.

When we transcend time with our imagination we tend to experience a slight hypnotic state. We can test this now by asking a couple more questions. Please feel free to join in.

  1. If I were to ask you to cast your mind back to an enjoyable childhood memory, what might you think of?
  2. Where do you imagine your life will be in five years’ time? What direction do you see your life going?

You might find that these questions take some focus and concentration. The further we look back or forward in time, the more hypnotic the state we experience. If, for example, you were asked to recall your first ever memory, you might notice that your mind has to work hard to get there. So you’ll shift into an even more hypnotic state. And the same goes for the second question, if it was changed from five years to 10.

Imagined timeImagined time

Answering the questions above has just established that we can time-travel in our minds by shifting back into memory or forward into imagination. We use this facility frequently.

Sometimes it takes a bit more imagination though, for example when we select a holiday destination, especially an exotic one that is outside our norm.

When contemplating the unknown we will run through a mental checklist that is often mostly outside our conscious awareness. This ‘checklist’ idea is discussed in some detail in my article called ‘Sexy Simplicity’. It might be worth a read.

Bringing your mind back to the present, we can see that we look to have a balance of known versus new to make for enough excitement to tick our boxes. Too much known and boredom might be experienced. Too much unknown can bring a form of distress. We all have a degree to which we are willing to take calculated risk.

If you take an area of life and assess your attitude to risk on a scale of 0 to 10, you might feel some judgment come up, especially if you feel you should take more risks. However, it is more useful to see that no risk level is right or wrong, it is more about what is right for you in that given context. We all have optimal risk levels that are associated with the various areas of our lives.

To give a practical example, when I completed a questionnaire for my financial advisor it showed that I have a risk rating of 7/10 to 8/10 so I’m quite willing to take sizeable risks but not so large prom dress under 100 that I’d be considered a gambler. This explains why I am not so keen on going to the same places over and over again; I like more new than known.

For lots of people, risking their finances at a level of 7 or 8 would lead to lots of sleepless nights. Again, this is not right or wrong. Just whatever is best suited to that person’s nature and the given context. Having a good knowledge of your optimal risk level can also help you find a quality of anticipation that is most useful for you…

Anticipating anticipation…

Making a financial investment is not that different to selecting what clothes to wear or even choosing a potential lover. Sure, some are more intimate than others but in all cases we go through a mental checklist to anticipate if the person or investment or outfit is what we want. Most of us do this on autopilot but some do it more consciously.

Anticipating anticipationLike one of my friends… She once told me the way she tested potential partners. She would always insist that a first date would be a meal for two. She didn’t mind if she had to pay because she felt it was such a useful way to gather important information: the way the guy handled his knife and fork, how he spoke with the staff serving them and the rest of his behaviour in that setting would reveal many of his traits very quickly. She even believed that she could anticipate his potential as a lover by his gestures.

I was initially a bit shocked as it sounded quite shallow. Then she told me about a meal she’d had with a guy who was strikingly similar in looks to David Beckham. Physically he ticked all her boxes! However, he seemed to feel out of place in the restaurant and directed his awkwardness at the young girl serving them. He was condescending to her. This was enough for my friend to decide that although she found him physically attractive, he was not the partner or lover that she desired.

set up a time and place to create a space’So maybe she wasn’t being shallow at all. Perhaps she was actually being very direct and was consciously doing what most people do on autopilot.

I believe she ‘set up a time and place to create a space’. The ‘space’ being a state of mind where she would be able to effectively anticipate the past, present and the future and tune in to her intuition.

Maybe it would be worth considering trying your own version of my friend’s technique? You could consider and ask yourself ‘what could it be worth to me to have what I want, the way I want it, when I want it… more often?’


Halfway summary

Part One of this article aims to tap and tune into ‘what’ you might desire and want to attract into your life via the imagination and time-based dynamic of anticipation. In Part Two we will pick up the pace (and maybe even the temperature) as we look more at ‘how’.

Sexy Simplicity

sexy simplicityI was watching the BBC news in early 2017 when it mentioned a novel idea by Dutch engineer Henk Hesselink. He had designed a circular runway. Initially I raised a brow as I thought of all the reasons why this was a crazy idea but, as the story continued, my cynicism vanished. By the end I was thinking: “Wow, why hasn’t someone thought of this before?”

Henk said that with current aeronautic technology landing on a slightly angled and banked runway is no longer a challenge. And, as we look to make aeroplanes larger and more economical, a circular runway allows for all the length that would ever be required.

I was mesmerised by the idea and looked for a phrase that captured that feeling. Up popped ‘sexy simplicity’. It’s for ideas that are almost too basic and simple. Henk’s circular runway definitely fit the bill. Now I started turning the phrase over in my mind. I could see how ‘simplicity’ fitted in, but what about ‘sexy’? Could sexy simply mean ‘less gives more’?

So off I went, intrigued. I asked lots of people what sexiness meant for them. And I took a little look at the dictionary definitions for both sexy and simplicity:


  1. Provoking or intended to provoke sexual interest: a sexy dress, a sexy book
  2. Feeling sexual interest; aroused
  3. Interesting, exciting, or trendy: a sexy project, a sexy new car


  1. The state, quality, or an instance of being simple
  2. Freedom from complexity, intricacy, or division into parts: an organism of great simplicity
  3. Absence of luxury, pretentiousness, ornament, etc.; plainness: a life of simplicity
  4. Freedom from deceit or guile; sincerity; artlessness; naturalness: a simplicity of manner
  5. Lack of mental acuteness or shrewdness: Politics is not a field for simplicity about human nature.

I would like to tie together items 3 for sexy and 2 for simplicity so we have overall:

Sexy + simplicity = Exciting + freedom from complexity

Of course, you could take other combinations so please feel free to play with your own.

What does sexiness mean to you?

Ironically, most people talked about sexual chemistry rather than sex. Here are some of the discussions on ‘sexy simplicity’; I share them here because they could help us see this dynamic in our own lives. Maybe you can find a way to use sexy simplicity to benefit you directly or perhaps just being aware of it will help you feel more present and alive, and that on its own is an excellent reason to think about this little phrase in more detail.

Safety pins first

Pam HoggPam Hogg, a fashion designer based in Glasgow, Scotland shared a story from TEDx 2016 Glasgow. You might enjoy watch Pam’s talk which is about 15 minutes long. Here’s the link: watch now

Of Pam’s stories, the one that stood out the most for me was the one about safety pins. They had to be used in an emergency and ended up stealing the show. When the model walked down the catwalk in her gown (plus safety pins) it was the hit of the designer’s collection. I wish I had been there to see it! It’s satisfying when circumstance outperforms analytic over-thinking and necessity becomes the mother of invention.

Do you recall the day when a little-known actress, Liz Hurley, hit the headlines all around the globe? The then girlfriend of English actor Hugh Grant also had a lot to thank safety pins for!

She said: “That dress was a favour from Versace because I couldn’t afford to buy one. His [Grant’s] people told me they didn’t have any evening wear, but there was one item left in their press office. So I tried it on and that was it.” The dress launched her career.

Diana’s brush with danger

DianaPrincess Diana was one of the most photographed women of all time. Just a small change in her fashion or looks would be eagerly shared with the waiting world. On one occasion, she surprised, even shocked, awaiting press with a short and gelled hairdo. The change was so great that at first the photographers weren’t even sure it was her. A top London stylist took the credit for this change of style which of course was quickly taken up by the fashion world.

What was less advertised was what happened to lead her to have to make such a dramatic change.

Diana and Charles were considered to be a high risk for kidnapping and underwent an intensive training with the British SAS, the team who would be tasked with their retrieval should such an unfortunate event occur.

During the training Diana got so close to the live ammunition simulations that a faulty stun grenade used to create disorientation badly burned her hair in places. It was a quick thinking officer who prevented more serious damage. She didn’t complain as she understood that the training was preparation for a real life scenario.

And she turned disadvantage to advantage by going for a dramatic change in hair style.

At the movies

Let’s take a break from the world of fashion and look at the movies, specifically Raiders of the Lost Ark.

When I asked my friend about sexy simplicity she recalled an interview with Harrison Ford, her favourite actor. He had shared a story about a famous scene in the first of the Indiana Jones film. It was the one where Indiana has a showdown with a native who skilfully and expertly wields two sizeable swords. The script said Indiana would use his whip skills to disarm the swordsman but, after countless shots trying to get it right, Ford jokingly signalled giving up by just pulling out a revolver, shooting the guy and walking away as if an everyday occurrence. Spielberg noticed this and realised it was the perfect response for the highly intelligent yet cheeky character and so it went on to become one of the most iconic shots of the movie.

Could it be that a stroke of luck that initially presents as a ‘problem’ can be transformed into the sort of ‘solution’ that makes you smile with satisfaction? As if you’d just got out of your own way and allowed the universe to offer a solution so simple that it was counter intuitive?
Why not hold these examples in mind and open up a space for sexy simplicity to become a source of serendipity in your own life…

Attraction formulas…

When I discussed the meaning of ‘sexiness’ and ‘sexy simplicity’ with people lots of different ideas came up, but sexual chemistry was one of the most common ones. We spent a lot of time talking about chemistry!

It seems that a combination of factors attracts a person to something or someone. This might seem obvious, but let me continue. At one level those factors could make up a sort of internal checklist. People even tell you that they have a type when it comes to being attracted to a person. But your attraction checklist isn’t just about potential romantic partners; it applies to everything you are interested in.

For example, one of my friends practices Argentinean Tango. She told me what it was about this particular dance that drew her more than any other dance style. As I grew more curious and asked more questions, I noticed how her persona changed as she started to more fuly imagine her favourite dance activity.

I have her full permission to share what came up for her checklist, including:

  1. The whole spectrum of dance movements, at times so exact and precise that they were almost militaristic and at other times so smooth and flowing that she could express her full femininity.
  2. The way the movements were sometimes very slow and other times very fast. It’s at times like not knowing what to expect from the male lead but knowing it was going to be really exciting with lots of tension.
  3. The tension itself reminded her of a recent rerun she had seen of the movie Basic Instinct where the two lead characters had such a strong attraction that it almost verged on being physically aggressive.

Asking more questions allowed me to understand her formula; i.e. what had to be present for Argentinean Tango to be so attractive for her.

While we were talking she realised something she had not noticed before. She noted how the man had to have a powerful look in his eyes that signalled he could ‘pounce on her’ her at any time but was being fully respectful of her feminine boundaries. As you can imagine, the temperature in the coffee shop we were sitting in rose quite a bit! A couple at the next table couldn’t help but let their croissants go cold as they listened to my friend’s descriptions and watched her physiology change as she became more engaged with the subject.

So while you may be aware of some of your attraction formula in certain situations, you might be unaware of all of it. The subconscious mind holds a lot of secrets and we often realise them only by chance.

Summing things up:

  • When we experience ‘less gives more’ we create the potential for the infusion of simplicity. This can help raise the quality of our lives and even allow us to feel more alive.
  • ‘Sexy simplicity’ frequently happens when things don’t go to plan and necessity drives our ingenuity, often exceeding our expectations.
  • Attraction Formulas are a way for you to take a measure of control over your own awareness of what you are attracted to in your own life.

Maximising your Mindset


“Success is really about your mindset.”


What does success mean to you?

It seems that in modern times, this word has become synonymous with succeeding but then getting into a trap which creates a craving for yet more success, like a hamster on its proverbial wheel. I would like to offer a replacement for the word success in Gary’s quote and instead use ‘fulfilment’. Of course, you could also look for a word that suits your thinking. I like fulfilment as it is more about recognising, enjoying and celebrating each success without needing a further success in order to experience enjoyment.

How can we define a mindset?

I like to use a metaphor to describe ‘mindset’. Imagine wearing a pair of sunglasses. They provide a filter to transform over everything you see. In this case, they remove the glare of the sun. In a similar way, a mindset is a perceptual filter through which we see the world around us. It assists in filtering what aspects of the outside world we want to allow in. It helps us consciously decide on the attitude we have towards life’s ups and downs. Figure 1.0 shows this idea

Figure 1.0 - Mindset as a perceptual filter

The two primary mindsets

In my experience people usually fall into the glass is half full or glass is half empty view of the world. You might be able to think of people you know that clearly fit into these two. One way to describe this is seeing the world through a Problem Mindset or a Solution Mindset. You might also know of someone who is neither one side nor the other and lies more towards the middle. This leads us nicely into the following…

The three transitional mindsets

I have developed a three step idea to help us see that we can move from the problem to solution mindset by taking three simple steps. Before I go into that let me explain how making that change can benefit you.
Here’s what working towards a solution mindset has done for me. In my experience the solution mindset doesn’t stop problems; I still have them, like everybody else! No one gets away from life’s ups and downs. However the mind is creative and when that is tapped into, it makes it less likely that I feel like a victim of circumstances. Instead, with my mind set on solutions, I am free to turn disadvantages around. Also, with practice, problems don’t last as long. I believe that people who don’t seem fazed by life have the ability to feel the feelings that associate with problems but then have the skills to ask the questions that assist them in learning rapidly from the ‘problem’ and so transcend it.

The illustration shows how the three transitional mindsets could fit into our original two:

Figure 2.0 - The range of the five overall mindsets

Now let’s have a look at the three transitional mindsets in some detail…

Transitional Mindset 1: The Obstacle Mindset
From  Something that interferes with or prevents action or progress.
Here we can see that although the obstacle mindset is one step forwards from the problem mindset, there is still a sense of ‘pushing uphill’. This is typically when someone will procrastinate as they feel that it will take quite an effort to get through to the next mindset.

Transitional Mindset 2: The Challenge Mindset
From  A call or summons to engage in any contest.
This is where a person may feel conflict. Ironically, this can be where many people give up on something often without realising how close they are to a breakthrough. Just as they are about to tip things over in their favour, they feel the energy required is that bit too much.

Transitional Mindset 3: The Opportunity Mindset
From  A good position, chance, or prospect, as for advancement or success.
This is where a person may experience enthusiasm. They feel that they have distanced themselves from the problem mindset so much that they may feel they can take what initially seemed like a disadvantage and make into an advantage.

I have used the words obstacle, challenge and opportunity, but you are very welcome to replace the words with ones that best suit you. The main aim is to work with the idea that transitional steps assist us in getting from point A to point B. It is also worth noting that each mindset accesses increasing levels of your own motivational energy.
So how would you use these steps to help develop a solution mindset? Well you might find that, just by entertaining the three step idea, the process has already started.
We all spend some time in each of those five mindsets; it’s just a case of deciding to spend more time in the solution mindset.An example might be useful here. Figure 3 is a table where I noted the mindset I was experiencing as I wrote these words. I was completing a draft of this article in my local coffee shop with my iPad while some great chill out music played in the background.

Figure 3.0 - Topic : Transition status for Kieran completing draft version of this article

During the draft, I was brainstorming ideas so I felt very much in the flow. When I completed a detailed review a day or two later, I felt the Challenge % increase and the Opportunity % drop. You can see this in Fig 4.0 below.

Figure 4.0 - Topic : Transition status for Kieran completing the detailed review version of this article

As I finalise the article there will most likely be an overall shift into the Solution % as I will feel a boost of good feelings.
This way of looking at mindsets has helped me develop much more fluidity such that even if something major comes up, I am able to turn things around much more quickly than I could in years gone by. It as if breaking down the mindset idea into five categories helps me harness my resources and tap into my creativity.

Creating an opportunity

Well, why not have a go yourself? Is there something in your life where you feel stuck to a degree? Why not have a go and complete Fig 5.1 with your topic where you are feeling a level of ‘stuckness’. Simply add your % breakdown that you are currently experiencing.

Figure 5.1 - Topic : Your opportunity... Part 1

Then give yourself some time so you have a break in the middle like I did with writing this article. Then complete Fig 5.2. You might notice a shift, maybe just a tiny one, which is just enough to loosen up your thinking.

Figure 5.2 - Topic : Your opportunity... Part 2

As well as completing the above, you can also maximise your mindset by learning to intermittently ask yourself ‘which mindset am I currently experiencing?’ Then, with some time and a little effort and practice, you too can develop the ability to make mindset shifts.
I sincerely hope that this helps you see the potential you have to incrementally move towards experiencing more of a solution mindset, more of the time.

If you take this into your own life and make just a small improvement in a number of areas, they will compound together to make a significant difference.

Summary points:

  • A mindset can be considered as a mental filter which shapes a person’s perceptions of the outside world.
  • The two primary mindsets are Problem and Solution.
  • The Solution Mindset best taps into our motivational energy reserves.
  • I have shown three intermediate mindsets — but perhaps you can find more.
  • When we look at what percentage of time we give to each mindset, we can tap into our creativity and shift more and more towards a solution mindset.

The Antidote To Positive Thinking – The P/N Ratio


“Problems are never really the problem. It’s the question you ask in reaction to the problem that is the real problem.”


Part 1 – Ever feel you want to give positive thinking the boot?

Positive thinking is usually well intended but often very confused. Many positivity advocates are usually fine on the surface but beware of what lies beneath if you dare to push their buttons. They can be so focused on positivity that they feel exposed whenever they detect negativity. They see negativity as a problem to be resisted

“What we resist persists.”


Please understand that I am not having a go at people who are doing their best to make the most of life and its circumstances. It’s just that science can help us find a way to a more balanced positivity so that it works even better for us as we create a healthy relationship with both the ups and the downs in life.

So rather than react by automatically applying positive thinking, what if there is a way to respond so that we can create a clearer mindset? How about if responsiveness came more naturally and we didn’t try to force positive thinking? Perhaps real positivity is what happens when the mind is in a balanced state. Just an idea…

Part 2 – Balance isn’t necessarily 50/50

“The only true measure of success is the ratio between what we might have done and what we might have been on the one hand, and the thing we have made and the things we have made of ourselves on the other.”


When I talk with people about the relationship between positivity and negativity (or what can be called the positivity to negativity ratio), they tend to come to the conclusion that 1:1 is balanced. This would make total sense if we lived in a linear universe, but we don’t. All things are not equal.

Have you ever been with someone who is so positive it is almost as if they have lost touch with reality? At the far end of the positivity scale, a person who is too positive feels like they are naïve and if they are even more optimistic, it feels like they are in a form of denial. This happens when someone’s positive/ negative scale is out of whack or they just haven’t thought through positive thinking and its good and bad effects. It’s important to get the balance right!

Introducing Idea 1…

I want to bring together two models. The first comes from Marcial Losada (born 1939) a Chilean psychologist, consultant, and former director of the Center for Advanced Research, Michigan. Losada’s Ph.D. in organisational psychology was applied to the development of ‘high performance teams’. He investigated the nonlinear patterns associated with high, medium and low performing teams, where performance was evaluated based on profitability and customer satisfaction.

A pattern of ‘positivity-negativity’ became evident including the three ratios shown in 1.0 below:

Illustration 1.0 - PN Ratio for High, Medium and Low Performance Teams
Illustration 1.0 – PN Ratio for High, Medium and Low Performance Teams

Losada developed the idea of a critical positivity ratio (also known as the Losada Ratio). The positivity to negativity ratio figure of 2.9 provided a cut off point. For simplicity, we will use the figure of 3; so that is 3 times the positivity was needed to balance out one instance of negativity. Below 3, he noted that people generally failed to flourish. Above 3, they would flourish.

Losada’s findings found its fair share of resistance in the scientific community. I am still not sure if it was for his findings in general or for the 2.9 figure itself. If it is for the latter that would make sense as people in different environments have varying attitudes to life and a different ratio may work fine for them. The right P/N balance makes you feel like you are swimming upstreamI have worked with the positivity/negativity ratio (P/N) and have found that the wrong balance makes us feel as though we are swimming upstream whereas the right one feels more like flowing with the current. A positive to negative ratio can work for us or against us. Imagine walking into a headwind and how much effort that takes versus what it feels like when the wind is at your back. However, the wind is not an enemy; it is just a form of energy.

Aeroplanes use wind when they are landing. They generate wind with their flaps as they come into land. The extra resistance ensures that they stop before the end of the runway.

Just as the wind stops aeroplanes from shooting off the end of the runway, resistance is a dynamic that has it uses: the ‘1’ or negative aspect of the Losada Ratio is critical. For example that ‘1’ can provide constructive feedback.

As a Mindset Coach, part of my role is to assist people in finding what they already do really well so they can develop it even more. I have found a formula that allows me to provide constructive feedback in a helpful way. The formula is to give two or three positives and then note what could be even better.

For example, Susan had started a new healthy eating plan but was being a little bit hard on herself as she had an injury and was not able to do as much exercise as she would like. My feedback was:

  1. Positive 1 – She had started to feel better about how she was fitting into her clothes.
  2. Positive 2 – She had applied for a promotion at work which she had hesitated about for so long.
  3. Positive 3 – She had booked a pampering session with her friends as a reward for the great work she had being doing with her eating plan.
  4. Even Better – My comment was that she might be wise to notice that she was a very visual kind of person who held in mind an ideal vision of herself. This was great, I said, but only if she was aware of it. If she wasn’t then it meant that even when she was 99% of the way to achieving her goal, she might still feel like a failure.

Ok, let’s get back to Losada’s idea in terms of the P/N ratio and expand on it. The ratio of positivity to negativity can be:

  • 3:1 A person generally feels good about the world.
  • 4:1 A feeling of genuine optimism is experienced.
  • 5:1 A mindset of seeing problems as opportunities.
  • 6:1 A mindset where problems are fleeting as solutions flow so well.

Note: the wording I have used for each ratio is based on my own experience. I am hoping that as you become more experienced with shifting your own P/N ratio, you will find your own words.

Let’s now look at the range of the P/N Ratio. Illustration 2.0 below shows that 3 is the bottom end of the scale while 6 is at the high end. This is based on Losada believing that there is a point at which positivity becomes somewhat overpowering and loses its usefulness.

Illustration 2.0 - P/N Ratio as a spectrum.
Illustration 2.0 – P/N Ratio as a spectrum.

Losada looked at both ends of the scale, the lower end (value of approximately 3) and also the upper (value of approximately 6). He provided a range within which a person would generally flourish.

As with the 3 figure, I believe that the 6 figure is not anywhere as useful as the idea that there is a range/band/zone where a person can maximise the use of their energy levels and energy resources. This could help us understand what affects a person’s ability to motivate themselves.

Introducing Idea 2…

Dr Joe Marshalla Ph.D, a leading expert on the development of human personality and its perception of reality, gives us more information about negativity to positivity (N/P) as a ratio as opposed to positivity to negativity (P/N) one. The model he shares is:

  • 1:1 = One negative thought to one positive thought. Considered as ideal.
  • 2:1 = Irritable.
  • 3:1 = Unstable.
  • 4:1 = Post traumatic stress disorder.
  • 5:1 = Manic depressive.
  • 6:1 = Borderline personality disorder.
  • 7:1 = Schizophrenia.
  • 8:1 = Psychosis.

You may have noticed that we are seeing a mismatch as the 1:1 shown as ideal does not match with Losada’s findings where 3:1 is a minimum for a healthy mindset.

So we can see that even the experts have differing opinions. I have discovered by testing the ratios in day-to-day life over a two year period that most people are floating around the P/N ratio 1:3 to 3:1 zone in their daily lives.

Illustration 3.0 - The P/N Ratio as a spectrum that could make up the average person’s day-to-day experiences.
Illustration 3.0 – The P/N Ratio as a spectrum that could make up the average person’s day-to-day experiences.

Part 3 – The three dynamics of leverage

As I worked with the ideas of P/N and N/P ratios, I saw that energetically, a leverage perspective could be used and three categories utilised:

  1.  Coping
    This can be described as a feeling of working yet feeling they are not achieving what they desire. It can often be captured by one step forward – two steps back.
  2.  Surviving
    This can be where a person is neither flourishing nor diminishing. This may not be good or bad, it could be where a person is taking a break. It will often depend if the person is slightly towards coping or slightly towards the other category.
  3. Thriving
    Where life feels like it is improving. It can often be captured by a feeling of assisted energy as if you are being helped along, like walking down a gradual incline.

To place this in a modern day context, the topic of life/work balance is being discussed more and more. Science is directing us towards working less but at the same time working more effectively and efficiently.

Illustration 4.0 - The three dynamics of life/work balance.
Illustration 4.0 – The three dynamics of life/work balance.

I’m not judging people in any stage, whether they are struggling or thriving. The ups and downs are there for everyone to experience. What we are looking for is to utilise what we learn from life experiences as much as we can so we enjoy what fills our day as much as possible. If we spend enough of our life thriving, we can naturally handle a certain amount of surviving and coping.

Part 4 – Applying the P/N Ratio in day-to-day life

The great news is that it’s just the habitual thinking underneath that makes for someone’s P/N ratio so it is possible to gradually and incrementally make lots of small habitual changes that then allow you to feel more energised about your life.

Imagine you had a coin and you put it in your pocket. Then, each day, you did the same. It wouldn’t take many months before just standing up would be an effort. Imagine instead that you put that coin into a savings jar towards something you would like to have. Within months, you would start to see the jar fill. The initial difference between the effort of lifting the coin into the jar would over time prove to have been worthwhile. This is the equivalent of having your thinking work for you so you see solutions quicker and quicker.

The following steps could prove very useful for you:

  • Step 1 – Increase your awareness that positivity/negativity as a ratio affects your energy levels, your productivity and enjoyment in life. By reading this article you have already started this step.
  • Step 2 – Test out with one item in your life. It could be as simple as not complaining about the weather.
  • Step 3 – Start incrementally building on the things in your life which already work for you. This will gently rob the time and energy from the items that don’t work for you. Like starving weeds in your garden by adding a chemical that takes away its ability to take nutrients from the soil and sun.
  • Step 4 – On a regular basis, give yourself a reward for caring about yourself. Your ability to work and reward yourself is at the core of your motivation.

Part 5 – The Power of an Incremental Change Mindset

Making small incremental changes has advantages that are often too simple to see:

  1. They take little energy.
  2. They are low risk so you can always revert back if it doesn’t prove to be useful.
  3. When one change is made at a time, we get to truly know if that one change was effective. Making lots of changes at a time is harder to relate to cause and effect.
  4. This is what successful people are already doing even if they are not aware of it. The illusion is that successes are always big. They are in reality lots of mini (even micro) improvements which are compounded over time.

small incremental changes take littl3e energyI like examples so let’s look at one from arguably one of the best sports coaches in history, Vince Lombardi. I won’t go into too much detail here but what he did in essence was ask each of his team players and even the people involved with the team to make a commitment. He simply requested each of them to make a small improvement every year. You might think that this is falling short but Vince understood the compounding effect. When every player and the people helping those players make a small improvement, together that improvement is significant. He proved this not just with his team and their success but with their attitude and commitment which kept getting better year on year. No improvement was disregarded; they were all counted and appreciated.

If you take this into your own life and make just a small improvement in a number of areas, they will compound together to make a significant difference.

Summary points:

  • Positive thinking has its place but can often be a cover for failing to tackle the real cause of a problem.
  • The mind sciences are revealing that the ratios of positivity to negativity and vice versa could hold a key to how we operate on an energetic level.
  • A positive to negative ratio of 3:1 to 6:1 seems to be where we are energised and feeling positive while also being well grounded in reality.
  • Habits are fundamental to how we apply our energy and if we shift these, we affect our P/N Ratio.
  • The ability to focus on making just one incremental shift at a time can itself be a great skill to develop..

The Leverage Dynamic


Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum upon which to place it and I shall move the world


Are things in life generally working for you or against you?

Sisyphus, who you can see in the image below, was a figure from Greek mythology who was condemned to repeat the same meaningless task forever; pushing a boulder up a mountain only to see it roll back down again.
He’s certainly no ideal role model; who would want to be condemned to perform the same meaningless task over and over again? But perhaps you can think of one area in your own life that feels something like that…

Most people can come up with at least one or two Sisyphus situations that they’re experiencing without too much effort. They can include:

  1. Yo-yo dieting
  2. Paying off debts
  3. Keeping up an exercise programme
  4. Seeking a soul mate

And many more!

Now, let’s see a very different example that also involves moving boulders about. Walter ‘Wally’ Wallington, a retired construction worker, was curious about how ancient civilisations were able to move massive stones that were so large, heavy and cumbersome that they’d even present a challenge to today’s modern technology.

Wally’s website gives some of his ideas about leverage and how this can allow a single person to move massive loads. The simplicity of Wally’s ideas are just as impressive as the loads he moves single-handedly and it’s very possible that such methods were used by our ancient ancestors when they constructed such impressive landmarks as England’s Stonehenge.

You can click over to some footage from Wally

As you can see, Wally shows the mechanical advantage that can be gained with various forms of leverage. It’s simple and very effective. The thing is that leverage is almost too simple to see.

So what is leverage?

We could say that leverage is one of the most fundamental universal dynamics. If Archimedes could move the world through leverage then, in theory, a suitable fulcrum point could shift the whole universe.
In mechanical terms, levers are placed into three categories and examples include:

  • Class 1: A pair of pliers
  • Class 2: A wheelbarrow
  • Class 3: A pair of tweezers

Each of these allows a person to apply their energy and effort more effectively and efficiently.

Leveraged thinking

The most elusive aspect of leverage could be said to be that of thinking. One example could be that of a belief. There is a high chance that as a child your parents warned you about speaking to strangers and it would have been very valuable advice at that time. In later years, you will have discovered that being proactive and introducing yourself to people is a necessity if you want to engage with the world.

Your parents probably never told you that it was now okay to talk to people you don’t yet know. Most likely you built up a store of memories and experiences over time that helped you discern who would be good to talk and who was best avoided. You will have updated your belief to suit the context of being an adult in a certain kind of situation. In effect, you tipped your childhood belief into your adult belief through lots of smaller and incremental belief changes.

Another form of leveraged thinking is where a person learns to think ‘outside the box’. This is where they develop the ability to suspend reality for a while so their imagination has more time to play and entertain new possibilities. They give their mental critic a short vacation.

I like to give examples wherever possible so here’s an opportunity for you to engage your imagination and think outside the box…

Shifting a really big boulder…

Earlier, you saw how Wally thinks outside the box so that he can envision how ancient civilisations might have used leverage techniques to help them lift and move heavy objects.

Now we are going to look at how we can apply outside the box ‘leveraged thinking’ to see how a larger scale puzzle can stretch your ideas.

In Lebanon’s Becca Valley stand the ruins of what was the largest Roman Temple in the world, the great acropolis of Baalbek. In Figure 1 below, the large centre block is some 14 x 12 x 64 feet and weighs in at an estimated 800 tons (700,000 kg). By the way, if you hadn’t already noticed, that is a man in the bottom left hand corner to help give you an understanding of the magnitude and scale of the ruins.

Figure 1 – Acropolis of Baalbek (1)

How these and stones of similar size (often termed megaliths) were transported has confused science to this day: even with the latest technologies, moving stones this huge would be quite a feat especially as the stones in this picture were not local. It is believed that they were transported hundreds and maybe even thousands of miles from source to destination.

How did they do it? I don’t know the exact answer but after suspending my critical thinking, one possible solution that is almost too simple eventually popped up. Placing myself into Wally’s mind-set led me to asking some outside the box style questions.

If you would like to engage your mind, please do not scroll down until you have played with idea of leverage with a leveraged mind. This could prove to be a great test of thinking outside the box (or circling your way around it…just a hint to get you started!)

Note – Please don’t scroll down until you have played with some ideas.

A leverage-based potential solution…

When looking at this 800 tonne block and wondering how on earth it could have been transported, I found lots of theories and ideas and it could well be that the real solution was a combination of many of these.

One idea was that the stone might have been transported on wet sand as, at a certain level of wetness, sand develops a slippery surface. Of course, even with an adequate source of water to create a surface with low friction, the amount of men and horses needed to push and pull the stone would have been quite an army—especially as the land was not always flat. So perhaps a soap or natural oil type used to create a surface with even less friction.

The idea of rollers has also been considered. It’s been suggested that cylinders made from tree trunks could have been utilised. But, even with the hardest of woods and sufficient logs, it would have been quite a challenge to distribute the weight of the stones. The logs would all have to be a fixed and consistent size as any larger ones would carry more weight and would be more prone to cracking. Larger logs would also dig into the ground as they would be carrying more than their fair share of the weight.

There are many more ideas to consider and I’m only sharing a sample to help lubricate your thinking. I hope you found some interesting ideas for yourself.

One clever way to transport an enormous stone would be by making the block itself into an axle. What if a wheel had been built around each end of the block and it was rolled along? Maybe in practice more than two wheels were built around the length of the block to distribute the weight and keep the block from breaking. Rolling the stones could be one way to move them and, if we take this and also consider the tricks that Wally and other people have discovered, it would seem that a whole host of ideas and techniques were brought together. Lots of smaller solutions created one huge solution.

As a last thought, my favourite quote is that of Einstein’s “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”. I believe leverage thinking offers a way to tackle life’s problems by looking for what is often too simple and obvious to comprehend until we engage our ‘outside the box mind-set.’
Your next mission, if you choose to accept it, is to come up with a few ideas on how the heavy blocks at the acropolis of Baalbek were arranged on top of each other. How on earth did they elevate and position such huge stones into place?


Summary points:

  • Leverage is a dynamic that helps us think differently.
  • Leverage is all around us each and every day. It is often so obvious that it can be very elusive.
  • Big solutions are made up of lots of smaller solutions.
  • Leveraged thinking is what is often called ‘thinking outside the box’. Think of the box as all your habitual thought patterns and mind-sets; you know the ones… Yes! They’re the same ones that keep you following Sisyphus’s example, doing the same thing over and over again while thinking that they can solve a problem they helped create in the first place!




The Book That Wrote Itself

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes.
Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let
reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward
in whatever way they like.”


When I first shared the title of this article with a friend she said it sounded like something from a Harry Potter movie. Perhaps a scene with a feather quill dipping its tip into a bottle of ink and effortlessly sweeping across the paper all by itself. I wish life was so generous and magical.

Writing my first published book The Little Book of Big Leverage was one of my biggest challenges to date…and I certainly have had a few. The book initially came about when I found myself discussing leverage all the time in my design engineering job and in my main hobby at night, martial arts. It was as if the universe was telling me something.

There was something about the precision of the former and the fluidity of the latter that really caught my attention. I found myself wondering more and more about whether that precision and fluidity could meet each other and – more interesting still – what would emerge from that combination.

As I jotted down what I was learning about leverage, the notes started to build up into a mini compendium. This collection would have been the end of it if it wasn’t for a sequence of what seemed like coincidental events all coming together that led to me ending up in sunny California. I was invited by Andy Torelli (a top notch entrepreneur) to have a winter break at his Newport Beach apartment.  This
left me with zero excuses for not expanding on what I had gathered, turning it into a book outline. This occurred over the winter of 2014/2015 when the coastline temperature was in the low 20s – the perfect conditions for writing while taking in the super chilled beachfront vibe.

The book outline contained a whole array of principles, concepts, stories and real life examples from my own life and from people with a similar outlook.

As I was writing, I tried to work out the ‘good fortune formula’ behind the sequence of events that had led to me spending my time in wonderful sunshine with such happy, healthy and optimistic people.

I couldn’t explain or finds the words to describe what I felt until I stopped ‘trying’ and by completely chance found the following quote which cut right to the simplicity of the events:

“Luck is what happens when preparation
meets opportunity.”


The fortuitous events were born out of the principles and concepts that I was already practicing, I just hadn’t been consciously aware of it.

I had prepared by spending a couple of hours each Saturday morning for three months in my local library’s reference and study section. I wasn’t yet a writer but thought that if I was around books I might at least begin to see myself as one. It was in this state that I applied a technique called Mind Mapping (which I highly recommend as it is great for stimulating the imagination) to download my ideas onto paper.

The opportunity aspect came when Andy made the invitation out of the blue. I was initially a bit hesitant as it would mean that I had no excuse not to follow through, commit to taking the outline data and create a first pass manuscript. A three month break was quite a time to take away from work as someone who works for himself, but the opportunity was so well aligned with what the book was all about that I had to say yes to the universe.

Upon returning to a much less sunny Scotland, I got in touch with my editor and the process of turning the manuscript into a book commenced. Some parts were very smooth and simple yet some were incredibly challenging. I think that every author probably experiences something similar.

It was absolutely critical for me that two things had to be balanced out:

  1. The principles and concepts within the manuscript had to be applied to writing the book.

    This sweet spot… is a high level alignment between conscious desires and subconscious skills.

    This might sound confusing at first so I’ll expand a bit. The leverage-based concepts within the manuscript included such items as the natural zone of effort and motivation that lies between that of being under-stimulated and overstimulated. It could be compared to the ‘sweet spot’ that sportspeople report when they get a great result. When they think about it later they weren’t trying very hard, they were just very focused. Golfers, tennis and baseball players are especially aware of this dynamic as it makes for their optimal performance.

    This sweet spot… is a high level alignment between conscious desires and subconscious skills.

    In the context of writing I had to learn to apply alignment in these areas:

    a. Lack of motivation

    This occurred when I was not interested enough in what I was writing about. I was under-stimulated.  This showed me where I was not in alignment with the subject matter. The solution was to search for what truly excited and stimulated me.

    b. Feeling over-stretched

    When there was a lot going on in my life I would need to take more breaks. Juggling too many things would create over-stimulation. The passing of my father was one such time.  Breaks from writing could last as long as two weeks. I almost had to forget about the book to allow for my resistance to ebb away and allow the path of least resistance to reveal itself.

    c. The enjoyment zone

    There exists a zone that I would tap into as much as possible. It’s the zone where time flies because you’re having so much fun.

    Watching sci-fi and fantasy movies is a great example for me. Maybe its because these movies allow us to set aside the rules and restrictions of the mind, suspend our reality and allow our imaginations to be fully engaged. All I know is that I don’t think I will ever grow out of these types of films…at least I hope not!

    We briefly touched on Harry Potter earlier. I wonder if, in his fantasy world, he could cast a spell or make a potion that would create a magical sweet spot that could be used for all occasions in life? One of those would be a godsend when it is time to complete my annual tax return!

    Before we go too far into what might be, let’s look at potions a little closer. They are based upon a recipe. A recipe is just a written list of ingredients and instructions so that we can make the same potion again when we run out. In theory then it is possible for a sweet spot state to be created by borrowing another person’s recipe or creating one for ourselves.


  2. The book had to unfold and must not be pushed or forced

    Many people have direct experience of delayed gratification. Most of them think of it as the healthy relationship between effort and reward which is based on a period of delay between doing the work and getting the reward. This is absolutely correct. I’ll also add that an increased level of satisfaction comes from investing in the delay until compounding has also had an impact.
    However if a person delays too long they may end up missing out on the gratification.

    When taking a break, it helped me to remind myself of the following quote:

“Strive for progress, not perfection.”


Perfectionism is an illusion, whereas progress can be measured. Have you ever seen a glass egg timer? If you have, you will know that there is a narrow waist in the glass which slows down the falling particles of sand. The restriction is enough to allow the fallen sand to represent a given time. One minute is quite common as that’s time enough to poach an egg with a soft runny yoke.

What on earth has this to do with perfectionism, progress or even writing a book you might ask?

Well, just as the timer measures out minutes in grains of sand we could, with a little more effort, count the number of thoughts that pass through our minds in a minute. The actual number of thoughts and grains might differ but what is true is that all big things are made up of many smaller things. Even quantum physics is now finding smaller structures than we ever imagined. We don’t yet really know how far the rabbit hole goes.

So we can see from the sand timer analogy that all big events in life are made up of lots and lots of small ones that are just not in conscious awareness. Everything, including progress, is incremental. 

A useful analogy is that of high level maths in another language. If you were asked to perform calculus in Chinese, you would say that it is impossible. However, if the task was broken down into many small pieces, it would become possible. While it could be a stretch to say that if you can do addition and subtraction then you can become a rocket scientist, just bear in mind that all equations are made up of additions and subtractions. The universe is made up of additions and subtractions. In ancient China, they were called yin and yang.

The desire for immediate gratification is a major cause of resistance in modern life. And if you start thinking that perfection is real rather than an illusion, the chances are that resistance is at work in your mind. We can however get past the perfection illusion and underlying resistance by applying the stepping stone principle.

The stepping stone principleThe stepping stone principle is simple and fundamental. Anytime we struggle with reaching a goal, desire or objective, we are mentally trying to jump over a middle step and that is too much of a stretch.

As an example, I know a guy who took a step back with attending a night class in basic maths after struggling at advanced level because he had forgotten the steps he’d learned in his final years at school. He discovered that when he went back, it was more about remembering than it was about learning. When he completed his degree years later he acknowledged that going back to basics was the best move he could have made. It helped him not just in his maths but also seemed to prepare his mind for the tests that the later degree would bring him. There was a sense of smoothness and flow in the way he tied together the complexities of the degree. The little steps between the big steps came naturally to him.

Stepping your way back through a goal…

The stepping stone idea can be applied together with another concept for engaging the imagination.  You might want to take an example in your life where you don’t feel you are progressing well. It could be anything from a specific goal to an idea or project you want to get off the ground.

This could be done while you are sitting down with a piece of paper and a pen but I suggest that you do this with your body more fully engaged. I’ll explain why another time but trust me, this really does help.

  1. Take your paper and draw a horizontal line from left to right across the centre.
  2. Then on the top half write what your goal is and write the number 10. On the bottom half, write what your current status is and write the number 1.
  3. Cut across the centre to make two pieces of paper.
  4. Place the paper with number 1 on it onto the floor.
  5. Then walk forward in small steps while you count from 1 to 10.
  6. When you get to 10, put the piece of paper with 10 on it onto the floor.
  7. Then from the 10 position, step back one step and pause. Ask yourself what small step might happen just before you achieved your goal.
  8. Repeat this all the way back through 8 down to 2 each time pausing and asking what small step would come before the previous one.

What you might discover is that this has allowed your imagination to start filling in the steps so it begins to create the stepping stones for you. It is like adding easing oil to a rusty nut that doesn’t want to budge.

The reason for reversing back from 10 is that this engages your mind more from a ‘probability’ mindset rather than from a ‘possibility’ one.

Summary points:

Alignment was a key factor for me—preparation meeting opportunity was probably
best example of this.

  • The book unfolded over time and when I pushed too hard, resistance would remind
    me to get back to alignment and balance.
  • There exists a sweet spot between under-stimulation and over-stimulation.
  • The book was mostly written in that sweet spot.
  • You could imagine a sweet spot as being made up of different ingredients and instructions, like a recipe.
  • I developed an enjoyable book-writing state that became a recipe for me.
  • A book is more than words; it is a flow of energy.
  • Flow is assisted by seeing that all big changes in life are made up of lots of little (micro) changes.
  • Anytime we feel resistance, we are usually trying to cross over a step that is too big.
  • When we experience the in-between steps more often, we also experience smoothness and flow.
  • Flow is the result of being in your sweet spot.